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Spartan 2023 Raymond James

Spartan 2023 Raymond James - Brian at sunrise

At the Spartan 2023 Raymond James obstacle course race (OCR), Brian arrives at sunrise (before 7 AM). The volunteer at registration scans his ticket, checks his ID, and hands him the racing packet. Brian places his clear backpack and mobile phone on the inspection table and walks through the metal detector. Grabbing his stuff, he proceeds to the bag check.

A volunteer attaches one band to his wrist and the other to his bag. I drop my bag on a table and head up the escalator. At the top, I find a large Spartan sculpture of a man with a helmet, shield, and sword. Check it out in the video, as well as watch the elite male racers start.

Spartan 5K Stadion at Raymond James

We Spartans ran this 5K OCR race at the Raymond James on Saturday, May 13, 2023, in Tampa, FL. The race included 20 obstacles and climbing thousands of stadium steps.

I ran in the 40 – 49 age group with a start time of 8:15 AM. Sprinting up the stairwell, I reached the top in 4th place. That first climb was tough!

Running The Stairs

Breathing heavily, I run the stairs of the sunny upper deck (300 seats). At section 316, third place guy is walking, and I pass him. As I continue running, I pass more Spartans: a man and a woman. I chase down a female wearing white marble leggings and black knee warps. Then pass her in section 306.

Despite my scream of anguish, I keep running up and down the stairs. Finally, I arrive at the first obstacle, the Sandbag Carry, and run down a ramp shouting, “Aroo, Aroo!”

First Four Obstacles

At the sandbag turn-around, I move the 60-pound bag to my other shoulder and run back up the ramp. As Spartans run down the ramp, I exclaim, “Aroo, Aroo, Aroo!” to express positive excitement. Then I dump my sandbag in the box for the next Spartan.

The second obstacle is the 5.11 tactical low crawl. I put a weighted 5.11 vest over my head and a volunteer velcros it around my waist. Crawling under cords, I descend a cement stairway. Then I crawl back up the stair. On the final ascent, I stand leaning against the railing and struggle up the last steps. Finally, I remove the vest.

Breathing rapidly and pushing hard I fight to move forward. “Damn it!” I exclaim as I reach my physical limit. For the first time, I walk and sit down to rest. Forty seconds later I’m back on my feet.

Obstacle three is the Titan Fitness Multi-Rig. I swing long on the rings and attempt to skip a ring. However, I miss it. Then I swing from ring to ring.

I fumble the last ring, and it twirls around in circles. I reach for it and miss. I swing back struggling to hold on with my left hand. Desperately I reach again for the twirling ring and grab it! Finally, I hit the bell.

Running down ramps I pass a couple of female Spartans. Then, I come to the fourth obstacle, Slam Ball. Lifting a 25-pound ball over my head, I slam it down on the ground fifteen times.

Next Six Obstacles

We enter the locker room, and I feel the cool air conditioning. After fifteen quick push-ups (obstacle five), we head back out in the humid Florida heat. We run down a long corridor, and a male Spartan runs past me.

For the first time, I run through the stadium field entryway and feel like a professional athlete. The sixth obstacle is weighted burpees. I raise a 55-pound RAMroller over my head, drop it down to the ground, and do a push-up. A few reps in and I say, “Damn that’s hard.” After finishing 15 reps, I collapse on the field and ask, “Are we done yet?”

After a quick rest, the seventh obstacle is the Rope Climb. I wrap the rope around my right foot using the j-hook technique. Halfway up the rope, I hold on with just my hands as my feet search for the rope. I j-hook the rope, pull myself up and swing for the bell. I graze it and keep swinging until I knock it hard.

Then it’s up and over a seven-foot wall (obstacle 8) and off the field. Ascending the stadium steps my running comes to a stop. I walk my way to obstacle nine, the monkey bars. Then I sit down and put on my gloves.

Gripping the bar with my right hand, I yell out to amp myself up. Grasping the bar with my left hand, I shout, “Come on!” I swing, and my left grip fails. Walking away I say, “My grip strength is gone.” I do fifteen penalty burpees.

To recover, I lay down on the ground for fifty seconds. Then I’m back on my feet for the tenth and easiest obstacle, rolling epic.

Final Ten Obstacles

Three of us slowly jog and briskly walk up a multi-level ramp – a few running Spartans pass us. Then we come to obstacle eleven, the cord crawl. We crawl up the ramp, and we continue to crawl and bend over across long stretches. Finally, I reach the top, sit down in the shade, and rest for 55 seconds. This is the longest obstacle.

Back to the sunny upper level (300 seats), I lean over a red stadium seat and rest for 26 seconds. I struggle to walk up the steps to the top of section 327. Then I sit down in a red seat and speak out loud: “This course is insane.”

Two Spartan females approach, and I tell them: “Enjoy the view. You earned it.” I walk down following these two ladies and recognize she’s the same Spartan I passed at the beginning of the race. The one wearing white marble leggings with black knee supports. We continue our slow walk up and down the stadium steps.

Finally, I leave the endless stairs and find the jump rope obstacle. Fifteen quick jumps and I’m done.

At the Jerry Can obstacle, the male Spartans carry two jugs of water (the females carry one). We carry cans down the ramps. At the bottom, I drop my cans and talk to a Spartan with bib number 1144.

Jeff says it’s his first Spartan and he’s “just trying to finish.” Jeff did finish with a time of 1 hour and 36 minutes.

Here’s a quick summary of the last six obstacles:

  • Sezzle Spear Throw – a black foam vertical block target, and I hit it
  • Usana Atlas Carry – 100-pound spherical weight; I carry it to the line and back
  • Box Jumps – 15 jumps, the box height 24 inches; I did all reps in a single set
  • 4-foot Overwall – it’s easy to hop over
  • Craft A-Frame Cargo – I climb up and over the obstacle
  • Gauntlet – I push through the hanging punching bags to the finish

Spartan 2023 Raymond James Results

Brian Kondas at Spartan Raymond James

I finished the Spartan 5K at Raymond James with a time of 1 hour 12 minutes and 4 seconds. This race was my slowest age-group performance. I placed 217 out of 264 registered racers. However, only 192 finished. Here’s my official Spartan race profile.

In comparison, I placed 5th in my age group at the Super 10K Spartan Race.

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